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President Steve Bahls' remarks on announcing retirement

Augustana President Steve Bahls' remarks on the announcement made Jan. 25, 2021, of his retirement in 2022.

It is really amazing that Augustana has only had eight presidents in 161 years! I am honored to be a link in the chain of presidents who answered the call to lead Augustana College, fell in love with it and served until retirement.

I’d like to thank the Quad Cities for supporting me in the stewardship of one of its most important institutions — Augustana College. Augustana needs the Quad Cities and the Quad Cities needs Augustana. I am proud to be a part of both.

I am proud to have played a part, over the last 18 years, in helping Augustana and the Quad Cities grow closer in mutually supporting each other. The Quad Cities, thanks to the efforts of so many, has become a cooler, more creative, more connected and more prosperous community during these years.

In part to support those efforts, Augustana has enhanced its vibrant academic programs, arts programs, athletics and internships. We’ve increasingly sent our wonderful students, faculty and staff into the community to work on worthy causes to the benefit of all.

Thank you, Quad Cities, for your confidence in me over the past 18 years and your confidence in Augustana College. 

Thank you for sending your sons and daughters to Augustana for their education.

Thank you for providing internships and real-life experiences for Augustana College students

Thank you for employing our graduates, who I know serve you well.

Thank you to our 600 employees, who live in the Quad Cities and share my vision for making Augustana an integral part of the fabric of our community. 

But most of all, thanks for welcoming me to the Quad Cities 18 years ago, to a place Jane and I proudly call home. 

We have much work to do at Augustana in my remaining 17 months. We will find our new normal after COVID. We will continue our efforts to promote equity and justice. And we will prepare to search for and welcome the next president of the college, who I know will continue to support our important relationships here in the Quad Cities.

As for me, I don’t have firm plans for my professional life past this presidency. I know it will not be another college presidency, as there is no better college presidency than this one. But I do hope and expect to end my higher education career as I started it — being a professor. I plan to teach one course each year at Augustana. I love Augustana College students — they grow boldly and shine brightly.

Finally, I have great confidence that the Augustana community will be successful in finding a ninth president to lead this college well, to face head-on the many challenges in the years ahead.

The world needs Augustana College graduates now more than ever. Because of this I am confident that Augustana’s brightest days are ahead. It has been the honor of my life to be part of the Augustana community.

Thank you, Augustana and the Quad Cities.